Tag Archives: Afghanistan

U.S. & NATO Negotiate a Breakthrough That Could End Insurgent Fighting in Afghanistan

U.S. and NATO Forces

Bookmark and Share    On the condition of anonymity a high level official within NATO has declared that U.S. and NATO forces have reached a breakthrough that will allow the afghan government and the Taliban to begin talks which could lead towards reconciliation with the insurgency that has been the source most responsible for drawing out the decade long war in Afghanistan.

At this point in time, with little detail regarding the actual content of these talks, it is too early to suggest that this is a breakthrough which could help bring an end to the war before President Obama’s scheduled withdrawal of American troops from the theater of battle.

At the moment it would seem that American and NATO officials have been able to move dialogue between the Afghan government in Kabul and the Taliban, to the point where, with the help of U.S. and NATO forces, insurgent commanders will be able to enter Kabul for official talks that could lead to a significant reduction in violence by insurgent forces.

Up till now, it was impossible for insurgent commanders to even approach Kabul.

The current development now makes it possible for dialogue that could end the Taliban backed battle against the Afghan government.

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President Obama Moves Towards A Final Decision Concerning Afghanistan

Bookmark and Share   If the reports coming out of Associated Press are accurate, President Obama may be prepared to Eikenberry & Karzaitake some measures in Afghanistan which would do us quite well. But those measures will not help us in either the short or the long-term if they are half measures.

AP reported the following on Wednesday evening:

“President Barack Obama does not plan to accept any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, pushing instead for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government, a senior administration official said Wednesday”.

That news is said to be based upon a “cable” from the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry to the President. The information leaked from that private missive apparently has Eikenberry, a retired General who has served a Command of his own in Afghanistan, pessimistic about the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and their ability to effectively control embattled nation.

The White House is said to be considering three different options not presented to him by his national security council or the any of those charged with prosecoting the war on the ground in Afghanistan.  Each of his own created options will send additional troops to one extent or another but for varying purposes and on a timeline far different from the ones that many feel is appropriate.

One said plan would have a troop surge used to deal with Taliban forces that have recently gotten the upper hand in several regions of the country. Some of these additional forces will be used to hold some areas and buy some time for the Afghani army to reach appropriate strength and capability levels. The remaining troops would simultaneously be used for training the Afghan army.

This is a plan that I support. It is the plan that Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice argued for, with the previous administration, for a year before they finally accepted it. Once the Administration did adopt that plan, a troop surge was approved and the plan worked. From that point on, the war in Iraq began to turn around for the United States. The plan was called “clear, hold, build”.

Clear, hold and build was first successfully used by Col. H.R. McMaster in the Iraqi city of Tal Afar. The strategy called for door to door operations that would successfully clear insurgents from the city. Once that was achieved, significant numbers of forces were left behind to hold the city. This allowed residents feel secure and prevented the enemy from simply coming back to the city after we left. With the city now cleared of the enemy and held secure from the enemy, U.S. and Iraqi troops began to build the stable starts of an infrastructure. Wherever this strategy was conducted, it worked. The resurgents were gone and our continued presence, prevented them from returning. As a result, citizens no longer lived in fear and life began to flow unimpeded by terror and violence. To carry out clear, hold and build, more troops and more time were required of us.

This same strategy, or an extremely close version of it, will work in Afghanistan. But it has no chance of working if we expect it to be completed overnight. To carry out such a plan in Afghanistan as a short-term exit strategy will be a half measure and result in a defeat of the purpose of the nine years we have already invested in the Afghani War on Terror.

According to reports, President Obama is simply looking at a way to surrender and leave Afghanistan to whatever fate its ill-equipped government will suffer.

The circumstances we face in Afghanistan are uniquely troubling and to overcoming that which makes it all so troubling will not be accomplished by a quick exit anytime soon.

In addition to waging an effective battle against the Taliban, we have to do whatever is possible to establish a secure, responsible, legitimate government in Afghanistan. If we are not committed to make sure that was is eventually created, than I say pull out right now, because if we are not willing to that, than we are not taking our own plight in the region seriously. But believing for a moment that we are serious about victory in Afghanistan, the most dramatic difficulty that we face in establishing that necessary stable and secure government is the fact that nine out of ten Afghan soldiers do not know how to read. This creates a significant roadblock to any quick training of troops to take our place if we leave anytime soon.

Proper training will be crucial in establishing a stable Afghani government that can takeover our current efforts and continue to render the Taliban ineffective. Under the circumstances, such effective training will take a great deal of time.

I understand that President Obama wants to be able to claim that he ended the war in Afghanistan. He wants to live up to that Nobel Peace Prize that he accepted and received prematurely before he had a chance to do anything. But would it not be a greater accomplishment for him and our nation to b e able to say that he ended the war successfully? For that to be achieved and acknowledged, President Obama can not take any half measures.

If reports are true, Ambassador Eikenberry sees no hope for us in Afghanistan.

Eikenberry wields a great deal of influence over the President in this matter. I only prayer that his defeatism will not be adopted by President Obama, and that the President will continue to wage what he calls a “war of necessity”, to its victorious conclusion. And just to be clear here, victory in Afghanistan is defined by the eventual creation of a government that can do what we are doing——destroy the Taliban and offer the Afghani people a bright future. Anything short of that will leave Afghanistan to again become the breeding and training ground for more 9/11’s to be launched from.

Mr. President, don’t allow that to happen. The future and security of your fellow Americans is far more important than any medal that a bunch of Scandinavians want to hang around your neck.

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The Case For Making Sure That Freedom Wins In Afghanistan

Bookmark and Share   It can cannot be denied that after accomplishing the mission of removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, we began the second mission of securing Iraq and helping to establish an effective, free and AfghaniU4democratic government.

Those who disagree with these fact as well as those who debate whether or not there was any justification for our efforts in Iraq, will simply have to continue to try and deny that both missions have been accomplished.

They will also have to continue to try and deny the fact that President Obama saw the need to continue with President Bush’s Iraqi policy and timeline in the very same war which President Obama so vehemently opposed prior to becoming President and having knowledge of all the facts. They will also have to continue to try and deny the ten legitimate reasons given for removing Saddam which included his continuous violations of the terms of the cease fire agreement that Saddam signed with the United States in order to end the first Iraqi war. Those who disagree with the war effort in Iraq and the reasons for it must also try to deny that a great deal of long-term success has been achieved in Iraq.

As those, like President Obama, who continue to disagree with our efforts in Iraq begin to lose their will to continue arguing against the legitimacy of removing Saddam and creating a stable government in Iraq, they start to focus on Afghanistan with slowly increasing calls for the withdrawal of our forces from this unconquered nation.

But before we just pull a Soviet style retreat let us look at the Iraqi war which is winding down due to the achievement of many of our goals there.

After we successfully removed Saddam Hussein, a new battle began. We had to fight the hidden resurgents who tried to exploit the instability and vacuum that existed once Saddam was not in control. As the resurgents doubled up on their efforts with heightened suicide bombings and the increased use of IED and attacks on coalition forces, the rising violence in Iraq began to spur more and more calls to end our war effort there, and to withdraw our troops. As this sentiment grew, for nearly a year military commanders along with the leaders at the Pentagon and in the Bush administration debated the pros and cons of retreating or creating an American troop surge.

Before it was too late, the decision was made to send more troops in.

That decision effectively combated the resurgent enemies of the United States and the Iraqi government and it brought us to the near conclusion of the conflagration in Iraq that we are approaching today.

That same decision to increase the number of forces that we have in Afghanistan is being considered today as increased violence and the highest level of American casualties to date was just seen this past month in Afghanistan.

Currently the administration has indicated that the issue of health management and care reform is the top priority and everything else will take a back seat to that. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs stated that a decision on increased troops in Afghanistan is “weeks and weeks away”

Such a call is, to me, a flagrant example of irresponsibility and carelessness. If the administration does not yet know where we stand in Afghanistan, they are inept and should not be in power. If they feel that our efforts in Afghanistan are not getting us anywhere and that it has little point, then the administration needs to withdraw our troops immediately. If the professional legislative leaders believe our cause in Afghanistan is not worthy and is impossible, than it is incumbent upon them to end the effort now, before more money is wasted and American lives are lost.

However: based on the fact that, ever since he took office, President Obama has failed to even consider reducing the number of forces that we have in Afghanistan and since he stated that our efforts there are necessary one would believe that based on the both the public and private information available to him, a stable Afghanistan is both a valid international and national security issue that he believes we can not simply abandon. Such is probably why the President has already increased our presence in Afghanistan by 21,000 troops.

Therefore, as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, is expected to ask for a complete do-over of the Bush administration’s strategy to fight the Iraqi war in Afghanistan and ask President Obama for even more forces, I believe it is in the interest of our nation for President Obama to not put off a decision on Afghanistan for “weeks and weeks”. Weeks and weeks lead to months and months and as we saw in Iraq, months of delay only prolong things and makes it harder to accomplish the mission.

Beyond these simple facts, let us take a few moments to delve into some of the reasons there are in the near future for remaining in Afghanistan.

The reason we got involved in the first place is because under the influence of the rogue Taliban element in Afghanistan, the country became a training ground for Al Qaeda, the Islamic fundamental extremists behind 9/11. Given the fact that Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen has stated that Al Qaeda is “very capable” of attacking the United States and added “They also are able to both train and support and finance, and so that capability is still significant,” I see no acceptable leap of faith that would lead me to conclude that without our continued efforts (a).-The Taliban will be capable of wreaking enough havoc to further destabilize Afghanistan’s fledgling democracy and take control of large areas of the country. And (b).-That the Taliban will not again join forces with Al Qaeda and allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven where they will coordinate, train and launch attacks from.

That is a primary reason for our struggle in Afghanistan. You can add democracy, freedom and human rights as additional reasons but direct security concerns are the primary reason for our presence.

Now one can debate the need for us to have an on the ground military presence in Afghanistan and seek to defeat the Taliban resurgents from the air. That would sound like a compelling argument but it is not a valid one.

We cannot be sure of the establishment of a secure, responsible, legitimate government in Afghanistan until the Afghan people are secure. Secure from the ravages of the Taliban and other lawless elements who rape the resources of the nation and its people. Such security cannot be provided by the dropping of bombs from the air. It requires boots on the ground.

Until there is an efficient and effective civilian run military and police force in Afghanistan, we must provide what is needed to create the right conditions for us to withdraw under. Forming a capable Afghan military and police force is not easy in a country where 9 out of 10 of their soldiers do not know how to read. So this is going to take time.

In the mean time, it is important to understand that the most difficult problem in Afghanistan is not too much security, it is too little security. That is why more troops are required. The lack of existing security in Afghanistan combined with its physical and political volatility make such things as education, aid, and infrastructure development nearly impossible. Unless of course security is provided and the necessary training and assistance in developing their own proper security element is achieved. With enough troops this can be done. Not tomorrow or next month but perhaps within two years time. With the approval of more troops in Afghanistan we can redistribute an adequate enough number of forces to the hotspot regions of Southern and Southeastern Afghanistan and effectively neutralize Taliban resurgents and then eliminate them. And while this happens, many of the additional forces brought in can be utilized for police training and anti-corruption measures.

Until we can provide enough forces to effectively make it impossible for Taliban backed elements of Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda backed elements of the Taliban to take root, we cannot cut and run from a new democracy that, if given the chance, can eventually become an effective ally in the region. One with a government that can become an important player in quashing terrorist elements within that region of the world.

As it is, the mountains of Pakistan, in that same general area, remain a central staging ground for groups like Al Qaeda and keeping the Pakistani government on top of them is a sensitive and difficult task for the U.S.. To have a stable allied Afghani government that assists efforts against terrorism in that part of the world will be a tremendous help to us in the long run.

On top of that, we also still have the badlands of Somalia, another ungoverned state, that pretty soon can become the terrorist breeding ground that Afghanistan once was and will again be if we don’t do the right thing.

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